Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
5th May 2019
Week Commencing 29 April 2019.
Energy & Business Services:
As we see positive progress with the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm development, and the development of both Moray East and West projects, a new initiative to support supply chain companies to learn more about opportunities will be held in Thurso on 13th May. The DeepWind Offshore Supply Chain Cluster is one of 8 in the UK (one of two in Scotland) that are being created under the UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal and the DeepWind cluster is the North of Scotland supply chain cluster with the developers that are involved in the projects in the Moray Firth and on the Aberdeenshire coast. It will look at the deep wind opportunity covering both fixed bottom and floating wind and is also looking out to the next offshore wind leasing round, ScotWind, which could see at least one project off the Caithness coast. Companies wishing to attend can register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cluster-supply-chain-roadshow-tickets-61286468477
I met senior colleagues from Scottish Government's Culture, Tourism and Major Events Directorate this week as they visited various sites in the Highland Council area. In my role as chair of the North Coast 500 Working Group we discussed current business growth around the route, as well as some of the pressures being felt in particular areas. I invited David Whiteford, Chair of the North Highland Initiative, to attend our meeting to give a flavour of the work that NHI has been doing to support communities to address challenges and realise opportunities.
Also this week the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust announced the opening of its new 10 bedroom Granary Lodge accommodation, which was officially launched by HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, and will open for business tomorrow (Monday 6th May 2019). The multi-million pound development will also act as a year round wedding and conference venue, offering further economic benefits to the north economy. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/prince-charles-opens-luxury-granary-lodge-development-177467/
As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP's partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:
It was great to visit North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster this week, and to discuss its current activities and future plans with Karen Phillips and her team. Steadily approaching its 25th anniversary, the organisation continues to be a UK Centre of Excellence in its field, and plays a significant role in promoting the north of Scotland on an international stage. But it also plays an important role on a local level too, with its community ambassadors (funded through the Aspiring Communities programme) and its fantastic Community Design House space meaning it offers huge opportunity to the Lybster locality. More at https://northlandscreative.co.uk/who-we-are/
Eann Sinclair - Area Manager, Caithness & Sutherland
A new £4.5m life sciences building was officially opened at Inverness Campus by the Deputy First Minister Mr John Swinney, on Monday 20 May 2019. Called ‘Solasta House', it offers flexible space for new and expanding technology and life sciences companies and is already home to eight companies and could be 75 percent full by the summer.
SpaceHub Sutherland: The team continued with a programme of drop-in events on the ground around the area this week, running drop-in events at the Village Hall in Skerray and the Kinlochbervie Hotel. For details on the project and the programme of events see http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/area-information/caithness-and-sutherland/uk-space-port/community-engagement.html Energy & Business Services: As previously highlighted, a meeting was held in Thurso to highlight the newly-established DeepWind Offshore Supply Chain Cluster.
Weeks commencing 8th-22nd April 2019. Energy & Business Services: It was good to see the announcement this week by Dounreay that its Decommissioning Services Framework had gone live.
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards, now in their fifteenth year, will be held on Friday 15 November 2019 at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness. With some of the best natural produce in the world, the Awards showcase and celebrate excellence and achievement in the food and drink industry in the region.
Week Commencing 8th April 2019 Energy & Business Services: It was good to see this week in the Press & Journal's Energy Voice a piece confirming the transformational impact that the Beatrice Offshore project is having on Wick. It is a timely reminder that although the £2.6Bn project is nearing the end of its construction phase, the economic impacts in the north will continue over the lifetime of the project through the operations base in the restored harbourfront buildings in Wick, which will be home to around 90 workers.
Twelve Highland business leaders have been selected to take part in the next IMPACT30 programme. The programme aims to support the next generation of business leaders, by providing personalised support, coaching and mentoring responsive to their unique growth needs.
An extended online portal that helps small to medium enterprises in the Highlands and Islands find new business opportunities from large contracts, will be launched on Thursday (4 April 2019). The Open4Business (O4B) portal was originally set up in 2012 by SSE to link supply chain firms with large SSE construction projects.
Week Commencing 25th March 2019 SpaceHub Sutherland: The team's weekly presence in Tongue continued this week, and June Love from the team also delivered a presentation on the project to members of the Thurso & Wick Trades Union Council at its meeting this week. I attend all of the Trades Council's meetings, so it was good to hear the unanimously positive reaction to June's update from members (see Communications below for feedback on my discussion with members).
Architects have been appointed to design the spaceport that is being developed to launch small satellites from the Highlands. Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, including a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA).
Three inspirational coaches will lead the latest edition of the Pathfinder programme which aims to put businesses in the Highlands and Islands on the fast track to success. A 12-week accelerator course hosted by entrepreneurial experts Steve Thomas, Danny Meaney, and Dr Andy Kelly offers a unique opportunity for businesses to pressure test their ideas and hone the perfect pitch.
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